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Zachary Smith, Ph.D.

Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., is senior partner and deputy managing partner for Witt/Kieffer’s Education practice. Based in Irvine, California, he conducts nationwide searches for c-suite and other leaders within education, healthcare, and the non-profit sector. Zach works with clients across the U.S., with a particular focus on the West Coast and Hawai’i.

Zach brings over 15 years of leadership experience as a practitioner and consultant to the firm. He has supported and led higher education president searches for AAU, research, regional comprehensive, polytechnic and private institutions. He has also supported executive leadership searches for a broad range of public and private universities and healthcare organizations.

As a former practitioner, Zach leverages his breadth of organizational and leadership experience with a strategic and consultative approach focused on delivering high-quality client service and results. He has a keen understanding of the importance of leadership effectiveness as it relates to organizational culture, and is particularly skillful at identifying candidates who have the propensity for success at a given organization. Zach received Witt/Kieffer’s 2016 Quality Award recognizing his clients’ satisfaction and his overall impact on the firm’s values and ideals.

Prior to joining Witt/Kieffer, Zach served as UC Riverside’s interim chief development officer/associate vice chancellor and executive vice president for the UC Riverside Foundation. As executive vice president for the foundation, he managed strategic committee and sub-committee meetings, foundation issues and trustee relationships.

Zach is a frequent presenter at industry events with a focus on leadership development, the search process (from a candidate and client perspective), and general talent management issues. He is the co-author of Making the Case for Leadership: Profiles of Chief Advancement Officers in Higher Education, and has published articles in the Journal of Leadership and Organization Studies and the International Journal of Educational Advancement.

Ph.D., University of Nevada, Las Vegas
M.S., University of Nevada, Las Vegas
B.S., Boise State University, Boise, ID


Thought Leadership

Zachary Smith, Ph.D.
Senior Partner & Deputy Managing Partner, Education
2 Park Plaza
Suite 1140
Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: 949-851-5070
Fax: 949-851-2412
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